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The Rise and Fall of the "Fighting Editor," John Mitchell Jr
Although he has largely receded from the public consciousness, John Mitchell Jr., the editor and publisher of the Richmond Planet, was well known to many black, and not a few white, Americans in his day. A contemporary of Booker T. Washington, Mitchell contrasted sharply with Washington in temperament. In his career as an editor, politician, and businessman, Mitchell followed the trajectory of optimism, bitter disappointment, and retrenchment that characterized African American life in the Reconstruction and Jim Crow South.
Best known for his crusade against lynching in the 1880s, Mitchell was also involved in a number of civil rights crusades that seem more contemporary to the 1950s and 1960s than the turn of that century. He led a boycott against segregated streetcars in 1904 and fought residential segregation in Richmond in 1911. His political career included eight years on the Richmond city council, which ended with disenfranchisement in 1896.
As Jim Crow strengthened its hold on the South, Mitchell, like many African American leaders, turned to creating strong financial institutions within the black community. He became a bank president and urged Planet readers to comport themselves as gentlemen, but a year after he ran for governor in 1921, Mitchell's fortunes suffered a drastic reversal. His bank failed, and he was convicted of fraud and sentenced to three years in the state penitentiary. The conviction was overturned on technicalities, but the so-called reforms that allowed state regulation of black businesses had done their worst, and Mitchell died in poverty and some disgrace.
Basing her portrait on thorough primary research conducted over several decades, Ann Field Alexander brings Mitchell to life in all his complexity and contradiction, a combative, resilient figure of protest and accommodation who epitomizes the African American experience in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Honduras witnessed the expansion of its banana industry and the development of the United Fruit Company and Standard Fruit into multinational corporations with significant political and economic influence in Latin America and the Caribbean. These companies relied heavily on an imported labor force, thousands of West Indian workers, whose arrival in Honduras immediately sparked anti-black and anti-immigrant sentiment throughout the country. Glenn A. Chambers examines the West Indian immigrant community in Honduras through the development of the country’s fruit industry, revealing that West Indians fought to maintain their identities as workers, Protestants, blacks, and English speakers in the midst of popular Latin American nationalistic notions of mestizaje, or mixed-race identity. West Indians lived as outsiders in Honduran society owing to the many racially motivated initiatives of the Honduran government that defined acceptable immigration as “white only.” As Chambers shows, one unintended, though perhaps predictable, consequence of this political stance was the emergence of a clearly defined and separate West Indian enclave that proved to be antagonistic toward native Hondurans. This conflict ultimately led to animosity between English-speaking and Spanish-speaking Hondurans, as well as between West Indians and non–West Indian peoples of African descent. An all-inclusive Afro-Honduran identity never emerged in Honduras, Chambers reveals. Rather, black identity developed through West Indians’ culture, language, and history. Chambers moves beyond treatments of West Indian labor as an accessory to U.S. capitalist interests to explore the ethnic and racial dynamic of the interactions of the West Indian community with locals. In Race, Nation, and West Indian Immigration to Honduras, 1890–1940, Chambers demonstrates the importance of racial identity in Honduran society as a whole and reveals the roles that culture, language, ethnicity, and history played in the establishment of regional identities within the broader African diaspora.
Protest and Print Culture in the A.M.E. Church
Race Patriotism: Protest and Print Culture in the A.M.E. Church examines important nineteenth-century social issues through the lens of the AME Church and its publications. This book explores the ways in which leaders and laity constructed historical narratives around varied locations to sway public opinion of the day. Drawing on the official church newspaper, the Christian Recorder, and other denominational and rare major primary sources, Bailey goes beyond previously published works that focus solely on the founding era of the tradition or the eastern seaboard or post-bellum South to produce a work than breaks new historiographical ground by spanning the entirety of the nineteenth century and exploring new geographical terrain such as the American West.
Through careful analysis of AME print culture, Bailey demonstrates that far from focusing solely on the “politics of uplift” and seeking to instill bourgeois social values in black society as other studies have suggested, black authors, intellectuals, and editors used institutional histories and other writings for activist purposes and reframed protest in new ways in the postbellum period.
Adding significantly to the literature on the history of the book and reading in the nineteenth century, Bailey examines AME print culture as a key to understanding African American social reform recovering the voices of black religious leaders and writers to provide a more comprehensive and nuanced portrayal of the central debates and issues facing African Americans in the nineteenth century such as migration westward, selecting the appropriate referent for the race, Social Darwinism, and the viability of emigration to Africa. Scholars and students of religious studies, African American studies, American studies, history, and journalism will welcome this pioneering new study.
Julius H. Bailey is the author of Around the Family Altar: Domesticity in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, 1865–1900. He is an associate professor in the Religious Studies Department at the University of Redlands in Redlands, California.
A Documentary History of the Little Rock School Crisis
For the nine teenagers caught in the middle, Central High was a cauldron of racial tension. These students represented the black and moderate-white community’s desire for social justice. The documents collected in this book–newspaper articles, political cartoons, excerpts from oral histories and memoirs, speeches, photographs, and editorials–help readers understand how this local, southern conflict became a national and international cause.
In 1908, American philosopher Josiah Royce foresaw the future. Race questions and prejudices, he said, promise to become, in the near future, still more important than they have ever been before.Like his student W. E. B. Du Bois in Souls of Black Folk (1903), Royce recognized that the problem of the next century would be, as Du Bois put it, the problem of the color line.The twentieth century saw vast changes in race relations, but even after the election of the first African-American U.S. president, questions of race and the nature of community persist. Though left out of the mainstream of academic philosophy, Royce's conception of community nevertheless influenced generations of leaders who sought to end racial, religious, and national prejudice. Royce's work provided the conceptual starting place for the Cultural Pluralism movement of the 1920s and 1930s, and his notion of the Beloved Community influenced the work and vision of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the civil rights movement. Communities, whether they are understood as racial or geographic, religious or scientific, Royce argued, are formed by the commitments of individuals to causes or shared ideals. This starting point-the philosophy of loyalty-provides a means to understand the nature of communities, their conflicts, and their potential for growth and coexistence. Just as this work had relevance in the twentieth century in the face of anti-Black and anti-immigrant prejudice, Royce's philosophy of loyalty and conception of community has new relevance in the twenty-first century. This new edition of Royce's Race Questions, Provincialism, and Other American Questions includes a new introduction to Royce's philosophy of loyalty and the essays included in the volume, and a second introduction connecting Royce's work with contemporary discussions of race. The volume also includes six supplementary essays by Royce (unavailable since their initial publication before 1916) that provide background for the original essays, raise questions about his views, and show the potential of those views to inform other discussions about religious pluralism, the philosophy of science, the role of history, and the future of the American community.
Documenting and Challenging Death Penalty Cases in the Civil Rights Era
A Study of a Southern City
Once known as a Democratic stronghold, the "Solid South" is now politically dominated by the Republican Party. With frank and provocative analysis, Matthew Corrigan explores how the interaction of race relations, economic isolation, and religion create a unique set of challenges and opportunities for the majority party in the American South.
Corrigan uses an intensive case study of Jacksonville, Florida, to examine the attitudes of southern voters more broadly. As an urban southern city that now votes solidly Republican, it reflects the political changes that have taken place across the region. Drawing on research that includes over 2,000 surveys and interviews, Corrigan considers whether or not Republicans, who now hold a majority of federal offices in the South, can provide a political system to address the region's problems.
Scholars, pundits, and members of the general public from both political parties will find this book accessible and timely.
Whether their slogan is “compassionate conservatism” or “hawkish liberalism,” political parties have always sought to expand their electoral coalitions by making minor adjustments to their public image. How do voters respond to these, often short-term, campaign appeals? Race, Republicans, and the Return of the Party of Lincoln is Tasha Philpot’s insightful study of how parties use racial images to shape and reshape the way citizens perceive them. “Philpot has produced a timely, provocative, and nuanced analysis of political party image change, using the Republican Party’s attempts to recast itself as a party sensitive to issues of race with its 2000, and later 2004, national conventions as case examples. Using a mixture of experiments, focus groups, national surveys, and analyses of major national and black newspaper articles, Philpot finds that if race-related issues are important to individuals, such as blacks, the ability of the party to change its image without changing its political positions is far more difficult than it is among individuals who do not consider race-related issues important, e.g., whites. This book makes a major contribution to our understanding of party image in general, and political parties’ use of race in particular. Bravo!” —Paula D. McClain, Duke University “This book does an excellent job of illuminating the linkages between racial images and partisan support. By highlighting Republican efforts to ‘play against type’ Philpot emphasizes the limits of successfully altering partisan images. That she accomplishes this in the controversial, yet salient, domain of race is no small feat. In short, by focusing on a topical issue, and by adopting a novel theoretical approach, Philpot is poised to make a significant contribution to the literatures on race and party images.” —Vincent Hutchings, University of Michigan Tasha S. Philpot is Assistant Professor of Government and African and African American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.
In British Colonial Africa
Conceived by General Sir Robert Baden-Powell as a way to reduce class tensions in Edwardian Britain, scouting evolved into an international youth movement. It offered a vision of romantic outdoor life as a cure for disruption caused by industrialization and urbanization. Scouting's global spread was due to its success in attaching itself to institutions of authority. As a result, scouting has become embroiled in controversies in the civil rights struggle in the American South, in nationalist resistance movements in India, and in the contemporary American debate over gay rights.
In Race, Resistance, and the Boy Scout Movement in British Colonial Africa, Timothy Parsons uses scouting as an analytical tool to explore the tensions in colonial society. Introduced by British officials to strengthen their rule, the movement targeted the students, juvenile delinquents, and urban migrants who threatened the social stability of the regime. Yet Africans themselves used scouting to claim the rights of full imperial citizenship. They invoked the Fourth Scout Law, which declared that a scout was a brother to every other scout, to challenge racial discrimination.
Parsons shows that African scouting was both an instrument of colonial authority and a subversive challenge to the legitimacy of the British Empire. His study of African scouting demonstrates the implications and far-reaching consequences of colonial authority in all its guises.
Historical Case Studies
Four cases in which the legal issue was “race” — that of a Chinese restaurant owner who was fined for employing a white woman; a black man who was refused service in a bar; a Jew who wanted to buy a cottage but was prevented by the property owners’ association; and a Trinidadian of East Indian descent who was acceptable to the Canadian army but was rejected for immigration on grounds of “race” — drawn from the period between 1914 and 1955, are intimately examined to explore the role of the Supreme Court of Canada and the law in the racialization of Canadian society. With painstaking research into contemporary attitudes and practices, Walker demonstrates that Supreme Court Justices were expressing the prevailing “common sense” about “race” in their legal decisions. He shows that injustice on the grounds of “race” has been chronic in Canadian history, and that the law itself was once instrumental in creating these circumstances. The book concludes with a controversial discussion of current directions in Canadian law and their potential impact on Canada’s future as a multicultural society.